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Meet the men Blazing a Trail under the Firebird emblem

With decades of experience and a spirit of American adventure driving their eclectic brewing range, there are few with more fire in their bellies than Richard and Bill of Firebird Brewing

BBB speak to Richard Peters, one of the Directors and Founders of Firebird Brewing Co. to learn a little more about this Horsham based brewery

Tell us a little about the history, how Firebird began and why?

Bill and I are old friends from Birmingham Brewing School (closed some years ago) and got back in touch when we had both had enough of working for other people. During our first beer together we caught up with our news, and by the second beer we’d decided to build our own brewery. The sense of adventure we felt then still hasn’t gone away!

Where did the name Firebird come from?

Like everyone thinking up a name, it took us a while and there were lots of crazy suggestions. This is actually Bill’s third brewing business (King and Barnes, then King and Co preceded Firebird) and we played with the idea of ‘Phoenix’. We felt however that word was far too ubiquitous for a name, and ‘Firebird’ came into our minds. We like the shortness of the word, we love the logo we’ve come up with, and we like the tilt towards Americana, for its been the cradle of the craft beer movement.

Who are the key people involved and what do they manage?

We built the brewery and still work on the floor, producing, delivering etc. Now we are helped by Paul on brewing, Amy and Mia in our trade sales and brewery shop and bar, and Holly on packaging and deliveries. When our bar is open we also have a brilliant team of Bar Ambassadors (Kevin, Martha, Sue, Claire and Lauren) but sadly they are all on furlough for now.

You certainly have an eclectic range, with IPAs, old ales, pilsner lager and wheat beers. What beers did you start out brewing and when did you start really broadening the range?

Our first beers were Heritage Sussex Best and Bohemia Pilsner, and they are still mainstays all these years later. We’ve enjoyed adding new styles, sometimes brought in just because they’ve been a challenge to brew! Its been great to see that just about everything we’ve tried has sold well, which is why we’ve ended up with a fairly broad range. Its also entertaining for us!

Your Pilsner, Bohemia, is excellent. Crisp and refreshing, great body for a lager and finishes beautifully. How do you condition yours? It seems an intensive process so are other brewers doing this?

Well its probably true that if we had an accountant he or she would advise us to stop brewing Bohemia! It gets a big long condition at -1 and we ferment it cool and long before that. Traditional Czech brewers have always used this approach, and proudly served their communities with great beers. We’d like to think we take our inspration from them. We reckon most craft guys use a similar conditioning, but we’re absolutely sure no commercial lagers get anything like that.

Have you had good comments from Czech drinkers or brewers?
 
Yes, very complementary. We bought a Czech bottling machine and the Czech installers really rated the beer, as have a number of Czech customers who’ve been in the brewery from time to time.
 

The Mojave BRUT IPA is another cracker. It’s a relatively recently invented style – originating in 2017 in San Fransisco according to our research – why did you decide to make one?

Well we brewed it because its there. We enjoy trying new things and Mojave is proving great fun.

What is your favourite beer in the range and why?

Well we all vary, and we also find preferences depend on mood, food, company…Like all craft guys we are obsessed with character and consistency so I guess we’d say we like all beers, as long as they’re good.

In that case tell us what is the ultimate mood and food pairing for a bottle of Bohemia Pilsner?
 
Actually we don’t subscribe to the lager and curry/spice pairing that is so prevalent. Seafood, especially white fish, work well, as do bao buns, or (favourite) roasted peach panzanella. Basically subtle food that is looking for a fine, understated partner.
 

We notice you do a Be The Brewer experience at the brewery. Is there a good market for people wanting to get their hands dirty in a live brewery and make their own?

Well at the moment we can’t do Brewdays so there’s no market at all. However when we are running them the brewday experience is very popular and aso great fun. We have range of budding brewers, old friends and beer enthusiasts in and its always entertaining.

You both graduated from a brewing school and have accumulated years of experience since. If you could pass on some words of wisdom to keen amateur brewers, what would they be?

Well we reckon we needed to forget a lot of what we were taught! Look at hop varieties and hop rates as an example. Nobody gave US hop varieties house room when we were trained, and modern addition rates would have been seen as an abomination. Management of product quality and consistency are still key of course, and the basic brewing process remains the same, so our training hasn’t been completely redundant. Our advice to a budding brewer would be to get online, get some basic equipment, and get brewing. Today’s craft beers are really personal and there are also lots of new procedures arising from pure experiment (look at Hop Guns for example). The best way to get on is to have a go.

To what extent has the pandemic lockdown affected Firebird brewing? Like most brewers you’re offering home delivery, has that seen a good take up?

Our world, along with so many others, has been turned upside down by Covid. Pub trade and our own bar sales have gone away, and we’ve worked on home delivery and sales from our shop to plug the gap. We’re pleased to say we’ve been fairly successful at this: we’ve managed to stay open, we have brought some staff back off furlough, and we have extended our premises during the lockdown. We are incredibly grateful to the support we’ve enjoyed from local customers in this regard.

When we can get back through the doors, what pubs in and around Brighton and Hove can you reliably find Firebird on tap, pump or in fridges?

Try The Prince George, Good Companions, Curry Leaf Cafe, Hop Poles, William IV, Hare and Hounds, Queens Head, The Hanover, Preston Park Tavern, The Wick, and Temple Bar.

Future plans for the brewery. Any new beer launches on the horizon?

We are concentrating on staying alive and our new building (planned for 2021) just at the moment, but we’re looking at dark lager, dopplebock, maybe also a low alcohol style for winter. Watch this space!

1 Comment

  1. darren duncan

    Well done guys and good luck for continued future success ! of and of course if you ever need one way kegs shout !

    Reply

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Meet the men Blazing a Trail under the Firebird emblem

With decades of experience and a spirit of American adventure driving their eclectic brewing range, there are few with more fire in their bellies than Richard and Bill of Firebird Brewing

BBB speak to Richard Peters, one of the Directors and Founders of Firebird Brewing Co. to learn a little more about this Horsham based brewery

Tell us a little about the history, how Firebird began and why?

Bill and I are old friends from Birmingham Brewing School (closed some years ago) and got back in touch when we had both had enough of working for other people. During our first beer together we caught up with our news, and by the second beer we’d decided to build our own brewery. The sense of adventure we felt then still hasn’t gone away!

Where did the name Firebird come from?

Like everyone thinking up a name, it took us a while and there were lots of crazy suggestions. This is actually Bill’s third brewing business (King and Barnes, then King and Co preceded Firebird) and we played with the idea of ‘Phoenix’. We felt however that word was far too ubiquitous for a name, and ‘Firebird’ came into our minds. We like the shortness of the word, we love the logo we’ve come up with, and we like the tilt towards Americana, for its been the cradle of the craft beer movement.

Who are the key people involved and what do they manage?

We built the brewery and still work on the floor, producing, delivering etc. Now we are helped by Paul on brewing, Amy and Mia in our trade sales and brewery shop and bar, and Holly on packaging and deliveries. When our bar is open we also have a brilliant team of Bar Ambassadors (Kevin, Martha, Sue, Claire and Lauren) but sadly they are all on furlough for now.

You certainly have an eclectic range, with IPAs, old ales, pilsner lager and wheat beers. What beers did you start out brewing and when did you start really broadening the range?

Our first beers were Heritage Sussex Best and Bohemia Pilsner, and they are still mainstays all these years later. We’ve enjoyed adding new styles, sometimes brought in just because they’ve been a challenge to brew! Its been great to see that just about everything we’ve tried has sold well, which is why we’ve ended up with a fairly broad range. Its also entertaining for us!

Your Pilsner, Bohemia, is excellent. Crisp and refreshing, great body for a lager and finishes beautifully. How do you condition yours? It seems an intensive process so are other brewers doing this?

Well its probably true that if we had an accountant he or she would advise us to stop brewing Bohemia! It gets a big long condition at -1 and we ferment it cool and long before that. Traditional Czech brewers have always used this approach, and proudly served their communities with great beers. We’d like to think we take our inspration from them. We reckon most craft guys use a similar conditioning, but we’re absolutely sure no commercial lagers get anything like that.

Have you had good comments from Czech drinkers or brewers?
 
Yes, very complementary. We bought a Czech bottling machine and the Czech installers really rated the beer, as have a number of Czech customers who’ve been in the brewery from time to time.
 

The Mojave BRUT IPA is another cracker. It’s a relatively recently invented style – originating in 2017 in San Fransisco according to our research – why did you decide to make one?

Well we brewed it because its there. We enjoy trying new things and Mojave is proving great fun.

What is your favourite beer in the range and why?

Well we all vary, and we also find preferences depend on mood, food, company…Like all craft guys we are obsessed with character and consistency so I guess we’d say we like all beers, as long as they’re good.

In that case tell us what is the ultimate mood and food pairing for a bottle of Bohemia Pilsner?
 
Actually we don’t subscribe to the lager and curry/spice pairing that is so prevalent. Seafood, especially white fish, work well, as do bao buns, or (favourite) roasted peach panzanella. Basically subtle food that is looking for a fine, understated partner.
 

We notice you do a Be The Brewer experience at the brewery. Is there a good market for people wanting to get their hands dirty in a live brewery and make their own?

Well at the moment we can’t do Brewdays so there’s no market at all. However when we are running them the brewday experience is very popular and aso great fun. We have range of budding brewers, old friends and beer enthusiasts in and its always entertaining.

You both graduated from a brewing school and have accumulated years of experience since. If you could pass on some words of wisdom to keen amateur brewers, what would they be?

Well we reckon we needed to forget a lot of what we were taught! Look at hop varieties and hop rates as an example. Nobody gave US hop varieties house room when we were trained, and modern addition rates would have been seen as an abomination. Management of product quality and consistency are still key of course, and the basic brewing process remains the same, so our training hasn’t been completely redundant. Our advice to a budding brewer would be to get online, get some basic equipment, and get brewing. Today’s craft beers are really personal and there are also lots of new procedures arising from pure experiment (look at Hop Guns for example). The best way to get on is to have a go.

To what extent has the pandemic lockdown affected Firebird brewing? Like most brewers you’re offering home delivery, has that seen a good take up?

Our world, along with so many others, has been turned upside down by Covid. Pub trade and our own bar sales have gone away, and we’ve worked on home delivery and sales from our shop to plug the gap. We’re pleased to say we’ve been fairly successful at this: we’ve managed to stay open, we have brought some staff back off furlough, and we have extended our premises during the lockdown. We are incredibly grateful to the support we’ve enjoyed from local customers in this regard.

When we can get back through the doors, what pubs in and around Brighton and Hove can you reliably find Firebird on tap, pump or in fridges?

Try The Prince George, Good Companions, Curry Leaf Cafe, Hop Poles, William IV, Hare and Hounds, Queens Head, The Hanover, Preston Park Tavern, The Wick, and Temple Bar.

Future plans for the brewery. Any new beer launches on the horizon?

We are concentrating on staying alive and our new building (planned for 2021) just at the moment, but we’re looking at dark lager, dopplebock, maybe also a low alcohol style for winter. Watch this space!

1 Comment

  1. darren duncan

    Well done guys and good luck for continued future success ! of and of course if you ever need one way kegs shout !

    Reply

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

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Firebird Brewing Company

Firebird Brewing Company

A brewer with a diverse range, decades of experience and the spirit of American beer adventure